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Shaggy Mane Hunt – 2010

09.12.10

This photo is an epic one illustrating the dark side of the force relative to shaggy manes. These things get goopy, black, inky, drippy, disgusting, and look like the dude at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark melting to their doom. And it happens shockingly fast. So the trick to foraging this mushroom is not just knowing where they tend to appear, but how early in their brief  cycle you happen upon them. The good news is that where you find the doom of darkness and disgust, you will likely find some in the youth of their short life – highly edible, delicate in texture and flavor, and increasingly becoming a delicacy in my mind due to their fragility and scarcity.

This is an annual event in my life – skunked last year, but successful in 2008, 2007, and 2006. This year, my success came not from the usual shaggy-mane locations, but from a commenter on this blog, Liz. She gave me a heads up that there were some near her property near Cooking Lake, so I went out this morning with my 3-year-old and Liz, her neighbor and I picked a solid yield of shaggy manes. Liz had also been kind enough to pick me quite a few huge shaggy parasols.

Below are photos of the light side of the shaggy mane – the young edible form, as well as the peeled & cleaned version, and the cooked version. From the cooked stage they will get eaten, or bagged and frozen. Local, wild, ‘free’, and a piece of our ‘cuisine du terroir’ that you simply cannot obtain elsewhere, regardless of bankroll. I love it.

6 Responses

  1. So do you vacuum pack them and freeze them after you clean them? I love this idea. Can we arrange a foraging excursion next year. or is this a one man day and there is only enough for one in a patch?
    “….piece of our ‘cuisine du terroir’ that you simply cannot obtain elsewhere, regardless of bankroll. I love it.”
    You have me grinning too much tonight!
    :)
    Valerie

  2. Greg says:

    Gorgeous! Here, the Pepenki* are out, among others. Great year for all fungi here, what with all the moisture. Num-num-num…

    *That’s the Ukrainian name; not sure other names for them.

  3. Kevin says:

    Valerie – just ziploc and freeze in their ample fluid. Yields are always uncertain, but if you want to join next year, no problem. There may still be an opportunity this year. I’ll keep you in mind.
    Greg – googled them and can’t say I’ve ever tried those! Certainly a memorable mushroom year.

  4. Lisa and I had the chance to cook with these at the AMS foray on the Labour Day weekend. As soon as they were brought in from the woods we had to get a pot of water boiling. Blanching for a half minute then shocking in ice water stopped the autodigestion and kept them ink-free a little longer, until we gave them a proper saute the next day.

    Every time I see one a voice in my head says, “This mushroom will self-destruct…”

  5. Greg says:

    I believe Pepenki are aka honey mushrooms. And a TED talk about the world’d oldest living things mentioned them as a destructive force that takes out tree stands. In the mushroom world, though, it seems confusion and uncertainty reign. We’ve been talking about making our own mushroom book since none that we’ve seen/read have been without major flaws (regionalism, usability); I then realized we might get along fine making our book right up until the first entry that’s deadly poisonous.

  6. Adam says:

    I love Shaggies but haven’t tried processing for later consumpsion. I’ll be picking some tomorrow (10-17-10) and was hoping for a few pointers. I heard that they could be pickled? Never heard of anyone cooking then freezing as I do Chanterelles. How do the shaggies turn out? Any further info would be GREATLY appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Adam

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